tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 6, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, do something, congress. that was president obama's message to republicans today. act on my jobs bill or i'm going to go harry truman on you and campaign against that do-nothing congress. he even threatened to make republicans vote on the bill piece by piece, forcing them to vote no on universally popular proposals. what the president today is good politics. could it also be good policy? plus, those wall street protests, can president obama harness that energy and enthusiasm in the streets and get out in front of that parade? that may be the way for him to grab back that mantel of hope and change for himself. will he? also, baseball doesn't happen to be the only playoffs going on in town. in the republican party, the eastern conference is set right now. mitt romney's the clear winner. but the western conference, the
tea party crowd, is still open. perry's still alive, cain is coming on strong, and someone is going to want michele bachmann's supporters when she finally flames out. who's going to be the anti-romney? and the legacy of steve jobs is another reminder that in america, you don't have to go to the right schools, jobs didn't, or have a rich daddy. the guy in the garage can become a billionaire. my question tonight, is that guy in the garage still around? and let me finish tonight with tax cuts and president obama. he's not the first democratic president to have business oppose tax cuts, even when it's against their own business interests. we start with president obama, daring republicans to vote against his jobs bill, which he says will put unemployed construction workers back to work to build bridges and roads all across america. howard fineman's an msnbc political analyst and "the huffington post" media group editorial director. and john heilemann is "new york" magazine's national political
columnist. gentleman, too heavyweights. today's press conference, it's been noted, was a bit snippy. tough reporters, justifiably skeptical after these three years of obama, questioning what he's really up to. here's bill of cbs asking a great question today, about whether the president, president obama, is going to give them hell like harry truman. let's listen to some of that exchange. >> anybody on capitol hill will say that there's no chance that the american jobs act, in its current state, passes either house. and you've been out on the campaign trail, banging away at them saying, pass this bill. >> right. >> and it begins, sir, to look like you're campaigning and like you're following the harry truman model against the
do-nothing congress. instead of negotiating. are you negotiating? will you? >> i am always open to negotiations. what is also true is they need to do something. if congress does something, then i can't run against a do-nothing congress. if congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them. i think the american people will run them out of town. because they are frustrated. and they know we need to do something big. and something bold. >> howard, speaking of sports, i'm serious, this is a veteran reporter, spotting the game plan of a pretty young president. saying, wait a minute, i've seen this movie before. i've seen this game play before. you're going to lose this jobs bill, you know you're going to lose it, no matter what you're saying here with your poker face, and then you're going to say that these guys blew it. i'm going to go bash their brains in across the country. >> that's exactly what bill plant was saying, and it's obvious to everybody that that's what the president is doing. the question isn't -- >> excuse me, does he know it's obvious to everyone what he's doing? >> does the president -- well, he basically said it right there. and the question isn't what his strategy is, the question is whether he can carry it out. >> yeah.
>> first of all, i think he need to work on his harry truman. and he's got to convey that sort of populist sense of the little guy against the powers that be, that harry truman was able to do. >> can a guy who was head of the harvard law review have a failed haberdasher from kansas city? >> that's one problem. the other problem, what the republicans are going to say, because they were saying it to me this afternoon when i called them, they said, look, we passed his original stimulus bill, we passed his health care bill. yes, we're going to vote down the jobs bill, but as soon as we do that, we're going to take up the trade bills he wanted and we're going to pass those to show him that we're not a do-nothing congress. >> we're doing something you don't like congress. >> no, we're going to do stuff you asked for. you asked for the trade bill, we're just not going to give you your jobs bill, but trade, patents, health, highways. >> what happens if mitch mcconnell, who is just as tough as obama, and boy, he is a hardball player, mitch mcconnell, the republican leader, i'm hearing right now that he's trying to bring up the entire obama jobs bill, the american jobs bill tonight, maybe, get it beaten by the democrats not coming out 100%
for it, and stuff it right back at the president. >> that would be very hardball strategy on -- a classic mcconnell strategy, and might rebound to their benefit. there are a lot of questions about whether obama can successfully play harry truman, is he good in that mold? there's another problem, harry truman ran against the do-nothing congress, but that's not why he got re-elected. he got re-elected because the economy was growing, at somewhere between 4% and 6% a quarter for the six quarters leading up to the election. barack obama's not going to have that. so they have the rhetorical stance of running against the do-nothing congress with a economy that's dead in the water. i'm not sure that exactly solves the problem. >> and another thing, or at least what the republicans are going to say is, look, for two or three years, we essentially gave most of what he wanted. yes, we dragged our feet, but we gave him -- >> they kept saying we, but they opposed it. >> but he got most of what he wanted. and the economy hasn't improved. now, he can try to set up this
big jobs bill thing and say, republicans will say, if we don't pass this, it's our fault, but it's not. because we did all that stuff. >> reporters in the press conference today, including nbc's chuck todd, asked tough questions, of course, as i said. let's listen to a bit of them. here's chuck. >> wouldn't it be more productive to work with republicans on a plan that you know could pass congress, as opposed to going around the country, talking about your bill and singly out, calling out republicans by name? >> are you worried about your own powers of persuasion and maybe that the american public's not listening to you anymore? >> are you worried at all about how this is, how your administration is running? >> do you think that your government has a right to dictate how much profits american companies make? >> now, that's the kind of tough questioning i'm not used to. somebody called me from wall street, actually a guy who represents me out there, he's a republican, i think, and he said, look, i've never seen the press turn on the president like this. do you think they were tough questions today? >> yes, they were very tough.
they were basically, when did you stop beating your wife-type questions, in the sense, is it true that people aren't listening to you anymore? >> by the way, answer your question -- >> and here is the bellwether for this. when the president's approval rating gets below 40%, the press, like the public, starts to have -- starts to reflect -- the press follows the opinion polls. not consciously, but unconsciously, it does. and there's skepticism now in the country is very high, and very high in the press corps too. >> for a person rooting for president obama, today is a good day. he's out there meeting the press. he gave the longest answers in recorded history, seriously, to these questions. there were like seven or eight questions, over an hour. he gave long answers. here he is, by the way, telling chuck todd today, that he would support the senate democrats' plan to impose a 5.6% surtax on millionaires that would pay for the jobs bill. a different approach than he recommended. he says he's for this new approach if necessary. let's listen. >> the approach that the senate
is taking i'm comfortable with, in order to deal with the jobs bill. we're still going to feed to reform this tax code to make sure that we're closing loopholes, closing special interest tax breaks, making sure that the very simple principle, what we call the buffett rule, which is that millionaires and billionaires aren't paying lower tax rates than ordinary families, that that's in place. >> so he's willing to go a different route. all they're doing is slapping a 5 to 6% surtax on to a lousy, unfair tax code that still does benefit people who make money off of money rather than work. >> yes, that's correct. and look, there's no way to do the kind of fundamental tax reform that needs to get done in the time frame we're talking about. but the president does know that hitting the rich is a popular thing to do right now. 75% of the people in the country want to see something of this kind. he's going to go with that. >> here's my question, john. if he knows that it's popular, if 75% of the country is in favor of it, why does he say, i'm comfortable with that. why doesn't he say, hell yeah!
in other words, this is harry truman. if you're going to be harry truman, you don't make it sound like somebody's imposing on you. >> okay. sigmund. explain to me further. you've thought this through more than i have. why does he hedge on the obvious easy ones? >> because he's maintain -- he still thinks he can get fair-minded, low-tax republicans. he's not going to get any fair-minded, low-tax republicans. he thinks he's still going to win virginia and north carolina. i don't think he's going to win virginia and north carolina. >> but plouffe does, his guy. >> i know plouffe does, but they ought to worry about pennsylvania. they ought to worry about pennsylvania and ohio, and he ought to say, damn right, we ought to tax -- >> he's reconciled himself to the, i must fight strategy -- we're not going to compromise strategy. but in his heart, he still wants to compromise. >> he ran on the promise of uniting america. he hasn't been able to do it. the republicans don't want to help him.
so what should he do? >> i think -- he's doing what i think the right thing is, politically. he's making the right -- >> but he doesn't believe it, in his -- he's not a populist, in his soul. >> can he be this guy he has been told he has to be, harry truman? can he go out there and pound the wall and say, damn those republicans, damn those rich people, i'm going to stick it to them. >> i think when he's with yellow dog democrats, yes, but when he's in a room full of the middle -- >> there he is. a different guy -- >> i think when he's in a crowd that he knows will respond uniformly to that, he'll do it. but when he's in a situation where he has to reach out to the country at the same time, he's reluctant -- >> here he is. to make your point, here are the closing remarks. the president brought up the do-nothing congress. he continues to fight for the jobs bill. let's continue to watch him in his new approach.
>> i want everybody to be clear, my intention is to insist that each part of this, i want an explanation as to why we shouldn't be doing it. we will just keep on going at it and hammering away until something gets done. and i would love nothing more than to see a congress act so aggressively that i can't campaign against them as a do-nothing congress. >> is he running for re-election, for sure? i just watched that. i'm not sure. that didn't look like a guy run for re-election. >> i keep saying to people when they ask this question that deep down, he's the most competitive person i think i've ever encountered in public life. i think he is running for re-election. but i totally understand people looking at that body language could say, he could just quit. >> we're going home. >> he was putting his papers in his pocket like he was packing up his suitcase. >> like, i'm getting out of town here. >> or at least i'm getting out of this press conference. >> you guys' approach. you're writing a book, again. you wrote this great book, "game
change." you know how this guy came in. how's he stay? how does he get four more years? >> i think the simple nuts and bolts answer is, he and his campaign spend $750 million to make whichever republican he's running against unacceptable to the american people, the same way george w. bush did to john kerry. that's what they're going to try to do. i think it's possible. that's a lot of money. and whoever they get is going to have real flaws. it's possible that they can accomplish that, but it's going to be a demolition job. >> that's like saying, this is as good as it gets. >> i think it is. >> well, if that's what it's going to be, and i agree with john that's what it's going to be, don't forget the citizens united case and super pac spending -- >> so more money against -- >> oh, yeah. >> they'll do that. and all the allies of whoever the republican nominee is going to be, are going to spend literally billions -- >> he's walking into a poo storm, basically? politically. right? yeah, he's walking into it.
>> in some respects, how the 2008 campaign was so uplifting, and it was, divide this one by negative one on this one, this one is going to be as nasty and expensive as we've ever had. >> and last time, we had help -- in a weird way, helpfully, the financial crisis kept the general election from being very negative, because people thought negative attacks won't really work. the country's not in the mood for that. >> that's the name of your book. >> this time it's going to be very different and very ugly in both directions. >> i've got a new name for your book, "roller derby," it's who's still rolling around at the end of this. what a depressing thing. coming up, energy's building around those protests up there in wall street. they know what they're doing. can obama harness the fervor out on the streets to help win his re-election? does he even want to do that? that's the question we keep asking -- is he ready to join that crowd, lead that people to real reform on wall street? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. for fastidious librarin emily skinner,
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christmas in iowa? well, the republican primary calendar is still taking shape, and now it's possible the first votes could be cast before the end of this year. nevada has decided to hold its caucuses on january 14th. new hampshire likely wants to hold its primary a week earlier than nevada. and that means iowa could move up to late december, this december. and that would mean the republican presidential candidates will be campaigning in the hawkeye state over christmas. stay tuned. and we'll be right back. right on the numbers! boom! get it! spin! oh, nice hands! chest bump. ugh! good job, man. nice! okay, halftime. now, this is my favorite play. oh! i'm wide open. oh, fumble. fumble. don't want to fumble any of these. [ male announcer ] share what you love, with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. it's up... and it's good!
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repeal the dodd/frank bill that's killing the health care industry. >> dodd/frank is strangling the small community banks across america. it needs to be repealed. >> we cannot go forward with dodd/frank. >> well, welcome back to "hardball." that was the latest web ad from the democratic national committee and it plays almost directly on the anger that we've seen over the past couple of weeks, of the people occupying wall street, those protesters out there. well, today ♪ ♪ "u.s. news & world report" reports says this news ad is the beginning of a concerted effort between the obama campaign and state parties to link presidential candidates to wall street, make them the bad guys. my question is, can president obama get ahead of this movement and lead it? does he want to? let's start with that "want to." dana milbank is a columnist at "the washington post." dee dee myers is a model, no, she's been on a lot of posters around this town. to your credit, madam. to you, first of all. the question has to be asked. does the president have, we've
been talking about his psyche. he doesn't seem really thrilled with reelection yet. he isn't quite into that mode of being give 'em hell, harry. is he ready to get out in front of that mixed bag, that motley crew, if you will -- there are some people in there with geraldo rivera, well, not geraldo -- >> he might be. i don't know. >> some interesting lefties out there, too, but is he afraid to get ahead of that mob, too? >> he wants the energy from the movement without necessarily having the baggage of the movement. he's a fool if he doesn't try to get to harness -- >> would you do it? would you get out in front and risk the fact it's a mixed crowd? >> he needs to harness this populist energy. he needs to get out there and do it. i don't think this movement allowed him to do it. because, basically, they allowed him to do it in 2008 and allowed him to be the emblem of the movement and then he betrayed them. >> but they're there. they exist and they're active and they're doing something, which you don't see on the
center/left spectrum. you don't see a million people in washington like this. >> i don't think he has to own the movement, i think he has to address the issues that the movement are rallying around. people are really mad. how can it be in the united states of america, the top 1% have that much of the wealth and income and power? it's not right and not american. he has to get back to a place where people who work hard and play by the rules can get ahead. >> where did i hear that phrase before? >> it worked 20 years ago and it works now. >> i want to see that crowd work, and i want to see people going after eric cantor, going after boehner. and they're blaming wall street. they're not blaming the democrats. >> they came down to washington today. they were standing outside the chamber of commerce. and i can understand that. there's been a lot of corporate behavior that's arrogant -- >> the u.s. chamber of commerce, which is not a local chamber of commerce. it's a big-time right-wing lobby operation. >> exactly. and they haven't yet turned that, what they're doing into more of a political operation. i think that could be very useful. i don't think that the democrats are going to be able to say, we own them, because -- >> let's take a model. republicans did not invent the tea party.
in fact, they got their name from a guy on cnbc. they were grassroots, they created themselves, they were not even clear what they stood for, except they are right wing. somehow the republican party grabbed them, galvanized them, and used them to take over the congress. speaker boehner is there because of them. they may be pains in the butt, but he's there because of them. how does barack obama deal with that? >> first of all we have to wait to see whether it's a comparable movement. this is about 19 days old, it seems to be -- it started in new york, and has now spread cities across the country. there is real energy and real anger out there. i don't think whether we know if it's going to be sustained movement or not. you get out and address the issues that -- >> should we walk up to new york with a bull horn and talk to them -- >> maybe. >> milbank, you're laughing? >> we've seen the temperament of this president. look, he can give a stem winder
>> i think it expresses the frustrations that the american people feel, that we had the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. you've got republican presidential candidates whose main economic policy proposals is, we'll get rid of the financial reforms that are designed to prevent the abuses that got us into this mess in the first place. that does not make sense to the american people. they are frustrated by it. i'm going to be fighting every inch of the way, here in washington, to make sure that we
have a consumer watchdog that is preventing abusive practices by the financial sector. >> so he's giving a bureaucratic response to an emotional crowd. he's saying, i'm going to name another box on the federal organizational chart. >> if he's got a fire in the belly, he's been taking a lot of antiacid, because it's not at all coming through there. >> he's fighting for more regulation as opposed to fighting for people who work hard and play by the rules. >> i hate to do this, because i'm pandering to you, my friend, dee dee, what would bill do? >> he would have started a long time ago addressing the issues that people are mad about. feeling their pain. talking about the lives of ordinary americans who can't pay their mortgage, who have lost their jobs, who someone in their family has lost their jobs, who can't pay their kids' college tuition. who see, while all this is happening, wall street bankers are getting huge bonuses. but it's got to come back to the actual people whose lives are affected by this. you can't talk about -- >> let me give you a horrible example of history. when mike dukakis was asked by bernard -- what's his last name? >> shaw. >> bernie shaw, he was asked, what would happen if your wife were raped and killed? and he gave that classic liberal answer from massachusetts liberal politics, which is, of
course, you know, bernard, i'm against capital punishment. that's what you're talking about. this president is talking about the wall street problem, the problem of unemployment, the way dukakis talked about the possibility of his wife being raped and killed, without passion. >> he sees it in a cerebral way. he takes the long view. and i think what happened is, he said, well, economic crisis, right, we've got -- we passed the stimulus bill, check. and we'll move on and do health care now. and he didn't realize this this was the all-consuming thing. and he still can't. >> and the dnc is doing the same thing, by the way. an ad that makes the kind of linchpin of people's anger that republicans want to repeal dodd/frank? i mean, it's like -- >> i didn't know which way it was going, actually, if it was a republican ad. let's take a look. here's the top-tier republican presidential contenders. well, they're not doing themselves any favors when they're talking about the protests. let's take a look at what they had to say about the republicans' response of what's happening on the streets of wall street. let's take a listen. >> i don't have facts to back this up, but i happen to believe
that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the obama administration. don't blame wall street. don't blame the big banks. if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself! >> well, dee dee -- >> he's not going to be president. >> not going to be president. i'll tell you, the guy thinks he can be president, he wouldn't be putting out that mouth wash. it was orchestrated. >> nancy pelosi tried to talk about astroturf. you see where that got her. great. thank you guys. you're both right about everything. thank you, dana milbank and dee dee. the passionless so far presidency. up next, republican senator scott brown of massachusetts just commit a cardinal sin in politics? we'll see. stick around for the sideshow. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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>> i kept my clothes on. >> incumbent scott brown got wind of that joke and had choice words for warren in a radio interview yesterday. >> have you officially responded to elizabeth warren's comment about how she didn't take her clothes off? >> thank god. >> "thank god"? that's how they say it in massachusetts. and this campaign is just getting started. next up, how's this for a bad dream? what if you were running for president and nobody showed up, only press, no voters. that's what happened to vp candidate gary johnson when he arrived at a new hampshire high school to speak with voters last night. the room was empty. rather than split, johnson and the five reporters stuck around for a q&a session. so what are the future plans of gary johnson if he does not end up in the white house? >> so it's president or nothing?
>> well, by president or nothing, yeah, yeah, if i'm not successful, you're just never going to hear from me again. >> never going to hear from him again. based on his attendance record, i'm betting that soon even he won't be in the room. and finally, is gridlock good? according to supreme court justice antonin scalia, that was the plan all along. >> i hear americans saying this nowadays, and there's a lot of it going around, they talk about a dysfunctional government, because there's disagreement. and the famous would have said, yes, that's exactly the way we set it up. we wanted this to be power contradicting power. so americans should appreciate that. and they should learn to love the gridlock. >> yeah. well, you've got a job. anyway, i guess he's one of the small percentage of americans who think congress is doing a dandy job. up next, the republican party's eastern conference is all set. it's got mitt romney as the champion. who will be the anti-romney coming out of the western conference?
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i'm veronica de la cruz. california deputies shot and killed a man suspected of opening fire on co-workers, killing three and injuring six more. meanwhile, federal prosecutors launch a crackdown on dispensaries that are illegal, ordering them to shut down or face federal criminal charges. the head of the energy department's loan program is stepping down amid a probe of the agency's $535 million loan to the now bankrupt company solyndra. the energy department is asking for e-mails written by president obama himself. he is the first president to use e-mail for official communication. arizona congresswoman gabby
giffords was at the white house today for a ceremony marking the retirement of her husband. and britain's prince harry is expected to arrive in the u.s. at any moment. he'll be taking part in a two-month military training course in arizona. i'm veronica de la cruz. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." well, like it or not, the republican field is almost certainly set now. sarah palin has been teasing at a white house run for months, but yesterday she made it official, telling supporters that she would not run. she told conservative radio host mark levin that by not running, she would be unshackled and be able to do -- become even more active. and here was the former alaska governor on fox news last night, justifying her decision not to run. let's watch.
>> i apologize to those whom are disappointed in this decision. i've been hearing from them in the last couple of hours, but i believe that they, when they take a step back, will understand why the decision was made and understand that, really, you don't need a title to make a difference in this country. i think that i'm proof of that. >> i have no idea what she -- i want to get into that. i'm going to get incisive about, i don't need a title. and there's some other candidates, candidates still looking for the title right now. but are republican voters satisfied with the field they have? apparently not. according to a recent cbs poll, 76%, three quarters of republican primary voters say they have yet to make up their mind on this field. and 46%, almost half now, say they still want more choices. they want more people to get in this race, and it's not going to happen. what does this mean for mitt romney who's already in and rick perry and herman cain and the others who are already in? jennifer donny is a fellow at the eisenhower institute at gettysburg college and mark
serve is co-fonder of the nonpartisan political group, no labels. let's talk about this group right now. the field is set, right, jennifer? >> the field is gelled. >> my question is, can perry get past his boo-boos, which he seems to make over and over again? >> will he now pick up palin's vote, despite his boo-boos? >> i think he's had a really few strong weeks trying to get his sea legs. he's not a strong debater. it's not a surprise. if he can do marginally better -- the bar is set so low, that he could look like he succeeded, just for not putting his foot in his mouth. i do think he gets sarah palin's voters. i don't think herman cain is real. i don't think he has legs. i think he's, frankly, a joke. i think that perry still is competitive with romney, and i think if romney were going to get sarah palin's vote, we would have seen movement towards it some time in the past five years. >> that's where i had the question, my same question to you, mark, is why after all these years we've known him, mitt romney's been running
around the country, running against ted kennedy, running for governor of massachusetts, running nationally. for 17 years, the country has had a very good look at this guy. he's flipped around on issues back and forth, like a seesaw. no matter what he's done, he's won three debates in a row, still at 25%. three quarters of the party keep saying, tissue rejection. is this going to change? >> yeah, it's going to change. you can look at a lot of past primaries, democratic and republican at this point, and they're generally never happy. that's what primaries are about. you've got broad constituencies. and it's not until after the primaries are over and the nominee takes the stage when they suddenly have a cape and they get an "s" on their chest and everybody falls in love with them. that said, i'd say we are in a very different political environment this time around. and there's a lot of energy out there on the right and with the tea party, and they are looking for a candidate. and the dynamic is going to change here, chris. this thing's not over.
iowa will be in the middle of that. someone's going to pop in iowa, and it could be rick perry. listen, he's got 17 million. that may not buy love, but it does rent you a lot of organization out in iowa. herman cain is on fire out there. and i think there's a lot of voters that take him very seriously. michele bachmann's out of money he could do very well. michele bachmann's out of money and rick santorum hasn't raised any, but any one of those four could catch fire out in iowa, or maybe they'll split up all the vote and romney could make a strategic play and actually play in iowa and exceed expectations in iowa himself. but there's a lot of energy out there that has yet to be captured, and somebody's going to do it. >> what good is voting -- i want to get back to you about this. what good is it voting for herman cain if you know he's not going to be the nominee. you need somebody on the right to beat romney. you can't throw your vote away. they may like this guy, he's good out there on the stump, he says things that make sense. but he doesn't have any national organization, he's not really a politician. >> i talked to somebody in new hampshire today who told me cain hasn't set foot in the state for quite a while.
he's got no money, no organization, he's got no ground game. he hasn't been in iowa. that's the difference between him and rick perry. rick perry is already in iowa. he's campaigning there. if perry were to do very well in iowa, let's say romney wins new hampshire, let's say perry, as a southerner, then comes in and does well in south carolina, then it's up to the southern states. who lost the whole south in 2008? romney. romney couldn't win iowa. huckabee won it. he couldn't win new hampshire. mccain won it. he couldn't win south carolina. romney said, i get a silver after new hampshire. how many silvers do you think the republican party is going to let romney get? >> you still think perry's the leader? >> i believe he's in a better position. >> let's look at these new poll numbers in the republican field from cbs. we have them right now for you. among republican primary voters, mitt romney and herman cain are now at a dead heat at 17%. romney stayed virtually the same right now. herman cain jumped 12 points there. that's behind that surge?
we'll look at rick perry, who went from having 23% two weeks ago, down to just 12 now. newt gingrich, ron paul, michele bachmann rounded out the top six. let me get back to you, mark. you've always seemed to make sense with me. are you a moderate republican or a very conservative republican, just to make it official in your words? so i know who's talking here. >> i'm a radical centrist who falls on just on the right side of the line. i call myself a progressive republican. >> so you're sort of like me, within the 40-yard -- you're within the 40-yard lines. >> sure. absolutely. >> only we're on different 40-yard lines, probably. let me ask you about this. can rick perry get out there -- it looks to me like romney can win 20 debates in a row and the republican party is not going to fall in love with him. is that fair? >> i think they'll fall in love with him if he gets the nomination. i mean, he's very acceptable to most republicans. and, listen, in this environment, with the economy the way it is, i said jokingly three weeks ago that ron paul could get the nomination and potentially win next year. and then a poll came out about a
week ago that showed, actually, he was beating obama. it may not matter who the republicans nominate if the economy doesn't change. >> mm, i don't agree with that. >> you think anybody can beat him? >> i don't agree with that at all. >> make your point, mark. you think any republican nominee can beat obama? >> if the economy doesn't get any better or gets at all worse or marginally worse, yeah, i think just about any republican nominee could beat obama. >> here's somebody who disagrees with you, roger simon is on this program a lot today. politico columnist roger simon dismissed the polls showing obama in trouble. "i say the poll gods are wrong. not only can obama be re-elected, but he's the favorite right now. why? because obama has one huge plus going for him. it's called the republican field. and republican voters agree with me, because if obama were really so weak a candidate, why would republicans keep looking for a messiah to save them? the president presides over a lousy economy and a dreadful war in afghanistan. but he also has some real accomplishments. he's a heck of a stump speaker and a pretty good debater and he has an experienced campaign
staff" . >> yeah. i think those are true points. the other thing is today, for example, in obama's speech, you see him lowering the bar. biden was out there too. they're saying, the economy is bad, it's worse than it was a year ago. it's worse than it was when i took office. he's basically taking the hit for the economy now, so that when it improves and upticks just a tiny bit, before november 2012, he gets credit for it. they're doing this now, they're laying the groundwork, and i think obama knows that he has to run against himself. obama can beat obama. >> let me tell you the problem with obama. if you bought a car this the year, a ford or a chevy, whatever you bought, and it was lousy, turned out to be a clinker, a clunker, are you going to buy one next year? >> no. >> okay, that's the problem. thank you, jennifer donohue and thank you, mark mckinnon. he's got to win the argument. my heart next year, my model next year is going to be so good, let me show it to you, and convince us what he's saying about the next four years is so compelling, so winning, saying,
okay, we know we got a bad model this year, but we'll get a good one next year. i'm just looking at it. he's got to make the case to win this campaign. it's up to him to do it. he can do it, but what a challenge. up next, steve jobs proved you don't need a fancy degree from a fancy university to make it in this country. you need a good idea and a lot of hard work. and guts and believe in yourself. are we still a country that create a person like steve jobs? do we still have that garage out there where some people working in it that can make something magical happen? this is "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. your core competency is...competency. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. i'm getting an upgrade.
[ male announcer ] as you wish, business pro. as you wish. go national. go like a pro. now through january earn a free day with every two rentals. find out more at nationalcar.com. o fresher less processed foods introducing freshpet vital recipes so fresh the only preservative we use is the fridge freshpet fresh food for fido well, here's some good news. congresswoman gabrielle giffords was at the white house today, nine months after being critically injured in an assassination attempt. giffords was on hand for the military retirement ceremony honoring her husband, astronaut and navy captain, mark kelly. what an american couple they are. giffords returns, actually, continues her rehabilitation at an outpatient basis down in houston. we'll be right back. [ kristy ] my mom is well...weird.
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raise your hand if you have an ipod, an ipad, an iphone. i mean, look at -- that's impact. >> that was matt lauer this morning on "today" show, just demonstrating how powerful the influence of steve jobs was and is in this country today. he passed away, of course, last night. he brought technology to the masses, if you will, and truly changed the way all of us communicate. how we listen to music, how we live our lives, in many ways. president obama said in a statement today, "steve was among the greatest of american innovators, brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe that he could change enough to think differently. bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it. steve jobs was a college dropout
who started a company in his garage with a high school friend. he reflected both the time and the place he lived in. he's the first baby boomer industrialist who grew up amid the san francisco counterculture. and we're proud in america all of us that we created someone like steve jobs. is his story still possible in america? joining me is historian doug brinkley. you and i love this country and we write about it and think about it. and the thing we think about is you don't have to go to oxford or cambridge in this country. the establishment's nothing like it is in other countries. you could be a steven spielberg, you can be a bill gates. you can get out there and if you believe in yourself and you've got a heart for something you can do something historic. >> yeah, we used to call it, chris, up from the tinkerer's bench in the 19th century. that you can invent anything. we were a nation of mechanics. people that had an idea and would take it all the way to the top. it wasn't necessarily horatio alger stories but just people that believed in products. henry ford being the great example of the model t. he had failure after failure,
but he knew that cars weren't just for rich people, they were going to be for everyday people. and it's the same with steve jobs. he didn't think that computers were just for the defense department or for a huge corporation, but people were going to carry them in their pocket. and those types of american entrepreneurs are really the large figures in u.s. history. thomas edison and henry ford rank up there with washington, with lincoln, as great americans. and steve jobs for our generati generation, baby boomers, he's the man, and history along with bill gates will be treating him as a seminal figure. walter isaacson is writing a book on him right now. >> it's the same spirit as i saw in the movie "moneyball," a guy with an idea, a hunch and just carries it into action. here's steve jobs speaking at stanford in 2005 after he'd first been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which is a killer. let's listen. >> your time is limited.
so don't waste it living someone else's life. don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. they somehow already know what you truly want to become. everything else is secondary. >> that's a powerful message for us americans. and i still think we're the ones that can do it. in this country, you know, doug, nobody asks you who your daddy was. very few people ask you what school you went to. they ask you what do you do? what are you up to? >> well, exactly. in that stanford in 2005, everybody should just download it and read it. it's an amazing commencement address. he gets very personal in it and talks about, you know, the power of getting fired, how being fired or even contemplating death has helped him in business. but what's really interesting to me, chris, is the way he brought
in the san francisco counterculture, everything from alan watts's "book of zen" to jack kerouac's "darma bums" to experimenting with different types of vegetarian lifestyle to even spending time himself in india, declaring himself a buddhist. and apple records used to be famous for the beatles, and he used to say that i'm thinking in terms of the beatles, not just one person leading the band but a team at apple, you know, connecting it to rock and roll in so many ways. he's a figure that showed that in the '60s in the bay area. stanford and university of california berkeley, as you well know, you wrote out there for so long. it's a very major place in technology and entrepreneurism kind of shifted. while detroit and cleveland became rust belt towns, silicon valley, seattle due to apple and microsoft and some other internet companies, they became the new america when it came to business. >> and here the san francisco papers devoting full front pages to jobs's death.
here's the "san francisco chronicle." they call him "the man who saw the future." and the "san francisco examiner" simply put, "thought differently." what a man. you think, doug, ben franklin, thomas edison, and here we go in our generation, my generation, it continues. the american exceptionalism in the best possible way. people having a hunch. doug brinkley, you know your stuff. thanks so much for coming on "hardball" tonight. and when we return, let me finish with why business is against president obama even though doing so is bad for their own business. this is pure partisanship on the part of business. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. when they taste the food that you cooked, it does something to your heart. i think what people like most about the grilled food is the taste. the flavor comes from that oak wood. the shrimp, the fresh fish, the steaks. it locks in the flavor, it seals in the juices so that when you put the fork in it, it just goes through it like butter. it's beautiful. [ laughs ] i'm proud to be a grill master. i love food. my name is charles himple.
i'm a red lobster grill master, and i sea food differently. with less chronic low back pain. imagine living your life with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a non-narcotic treatment that's fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain. tell your doctor right away if your mood worsens, you have unusual changes in mood or behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. cymbalta is not approved for children under 18. people taking maois or thioridazine or with uncontrolled glaucoma should not take cymbalta. taking it with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin, or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk. severe liver problems, some fatal, were reported. signs include abdominal pain and yellowing of the skin or eyes. talk with your doctor about your medicines, including those for migraine, or if you have high fever, confusion and stiff muscles, to address a possible life-threatening condition. tell your doctor about alcohol use, liver disease,
and before you reduce or stop taking cymbalta. dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. side effects include nausea, dry mouth, and constipation. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor about cymbalta. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. go to cymbalta.com to learn about a free trial offer. i've heard of it, but i haven't seen one up close. what's the word around the sink? that it removes 3 times more soap scum per swipe, and it came from outer space. it is not from outer space! no, man, it's from outer space. they're aliens on an intergalactic cleanliness mission. they're here to clean up the universe. oh, the kitchen scrubbers are aliens, too? yeah, look at that greasy kitchen mess. everybody's in on the cleanspiracy, man. i can't even trust myself.
let me finish tonight with this. president obama wants to cut taxes. business opposes him. think this is odd? why would people oppose a cut in the taxes they have to pay for each worker they have on the payroll? why wouldn't an american businessperson want a tax break so he could hire more workers and save money doing it? wouldn't it make good business sense to back a president? regardless of his politics or political party, if what he was doing helped your business, helped your stockholders, helped you. well, politics, as the saying goes, makes strange bedfellows. this isn't the first time business has backed the
republicans in a political fight. even when it runs against good business. the same thing happened in 1963. jack kennedy wanted to cut taxes in order to stimulate the economy and reduce the jobless rate. business opposed him. in fact, there's a poll taken a year before that that showed 88% of business opposed kennedy. yes, today you hear a lot of republican candidates raving about kennedy's tax cut proposals, saying how he had it exactly right. but back when he was president, businesspeople were out there opposing his push for a tax cut. so president obama, you're in good company. history shows that despite all good business sense sometimes people let their politics get in the way of their own success. president obama's out there offering them a tax break. that if it were being offered by a republican president the big corporations would be leaping and gobbling this happy meal like the porpoises at sea-world. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. is